Gove, Northern Territory, Australia

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Lest We Forget

ANZAC Day 2013 saw another very moving commemorative service at our local (Wynnum) RSL.

Remembrance Service

Memorial Plaque

Floral tributes

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Ode of Remembrance

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Finding Fromelles

The true meaning of ANZAC Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in 1915. It is a day for us to remember those who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. 

Poppies at the Somme
So it was for us, when (for the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme) we travelled the Circuit of Remembrance (the route of the Somme battlefields in France) including visits to Villers-Bretonneux and (recognising my Welsh heritage) the Welsh Dragon Memorial at Mametz Wood.

View from the memorial tower at Villers-Bretonneux
At many of the memorials, we were the only visitors.

Cemetery at Villers-Bretonneux
The peace and tranquility of the cemeteries was quite spiritual.

Welsh Dragon Memorial at Memetz Wood

During our travels, the media had reported the ‘discovery’ of a mass burial site of several hundred British and Australian World War I soldiers, in a field near Fromelles.   
Australian-French co-operation took another step forward on the day of our visit to Fromelles.  We speak limited French, but were able to haltingly ask for directions to the field, from a very generous-spirited French grandmother (who spoke no English).  She patiently comprehended our efforts at sign language interspersed with broken French-English, and in return gave us detailed directions to the field (in super-fast French), which somehow we were able to comprehend.  Thus, we found Fromelles.

Finding the Fromelles site

The Fromelles site

Original Fromelles plaque

Finding Fromelles, and visiting the memorials throughout the Somme, were poignant reminders of the great sacrifices made by those who serve and die in War. 
Laying a posy of wildflowers at the Welsh Dragon Memorial


Monday, 8 April 2013

Up Where We Belong

The urgent maintenance to the chain plate obviously worked, as the results of Sunday's SAGS race show.

The rest of the fleet

Friday, 29 March 2013

There's No Place Like Home

Moreton Bay sunset
Our most recent wanderings saw me enjoying a couple of days this week in our old home-town, Sydney.  One highpoint was a wonderful half day at the Art Gallery of New South Wales taking in the Archibald Prize exhibition, and a ‘highlights of the gallery’ guided tour.  Del Kathryn Barton won the 2013 Archibald Prize for the second time with her portrait of Hugo Weaving.  Photos don’t capture the beautiful colours and detail of this stunning portrait. 
In the warm and sunny weather we experienced, Sydney Harbour never disappoints.  A stroll around the Rocks area and the historic buildings at the southern (CBD) end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge soon gave way to a strenuous climb up many, many steps.  The effort was rewarded with outstanding views across the harbour.  An intriguing find was the plaque in memory of those who died during the construction of the bridge, and another commemorating the historic Bridge Walk for Reconciliation in May 2000, tucked away on the ballustrading of the steps.
As satisfying as it is to revisit old haunts and favourite cities, it’s always delightful to return to our 'backyard', in Brisbane's bayside.  As soon as our girl's new parts are fitted (see previous post) we hope to be out on the water again, enjoying more fabulous Moreton Bay sunsets.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

We'd rather be Sailing

There’s an upside to owning a 30 year old boat.  (I’m a glass-half-full-type of person.)  Its seaworthiness and competiveness have been well and truly ‘tried and tested’ with racing over many years.  We enjoy the confidence of knowing our boat can handle the heaviest conditions.  But last week, we realised there’s also a downside to owning an ageing boat.  Like some baby boomers we know, our girl is starting to show the effects of her age.  The most recent evidence was fatigue to a chain plate. (Chain plates help secure the mast and rigging.) 

Fatigue in the chain plate

Fatigue cracks in yacht chain plates are apparently common in stainless, particularly where salt water is present.  The replacement of the chain plates with newly-fabricated, and heavier duty, stainless plates should be a straightforward task for TOH.  But with the four day Easter holiday almost upon us, it goes without saying that we’d rather be sailing.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Footsteps of Charles Darwin

View from Bellerive across Kangaroo Bay and the River Derwent

Our recent walk in the footsteps of English naturalist, Charles Darwin, started at Bellerive boardwalk on Hobart’s eastern shore.  The views across Kangaroo Bay and the River Derwent are delightful.  The Charles Darwin Trail follows the route Darwin took as a young man on a visit to the area in 1836.

We were interested to discover that Darwin’s visit to Australia came almost four long years after he'd left England on his world voyage aboard the HMS Beagle.  There are great interpretive signs along the Charles Darwin Trail, which are based on Darwin’s notes and observations.  Unlike the bad weather Darwin encountered, which delayed the Beagle’s departure from Hobart by 12 days, we enjoyed glorious sunny weather.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Not Quite Hell

Returning to Macquarie Harbour Through Hell's Gates

Tasmania was the choice for our most recent wandering, a highlight being the wonderful cruise along the Gordon River in the Tasmanian wilderness.  Even shared with 200 tourists, a cruise on the stunning Gordon is not to be missed.  If you're lucky enough to strike fair weather, as we did, returning to Macquarie Harbour through Hell's Gates is a memorable experience for all the right reasons.